Review by Woody, photos by Mark Lloyd
So I’m back at Lucy’s again for a quality trio of bands which promises to be a great night of rock!
Hitting the stage first is Wolverhampton based hair metal rockers Shyne. I have managed to catch these guys on a couple of occasions with growing admiration for their music, but tonight is the first time with new drummer Dez Wooton (The New Saints) and bass man Adam Mason. Sadly I wasn’t as impressed tonight, it’s hard to put my finger on exactly went wrong but the crunch of it was the songs didn’t jump out at me and slap me about the way they have done in the past. Vocalist Toni Gale was his usual eccentric self and bantered with ease in between songs but the band’s performance as a whole didn’t seem as electric and exciting as I’d seen at The Slade Rooms not long ago.
Don’t get me wrong I enjoyed their set, but I was expecting more because I know they are more than capable of it!
One of the great things about these guys is they embrace a sound they enjoy and bring it back to us! Fair enough they aren’t re-inventing the wheel but openly admit they are not trying too, they enjoy the sound of the LA strip in the late eighties and there are many who want to rock out like it’s 1987 with the guys too, so kudos to the guys for their honesty and passion!
Given Toni’s vocal style it’s no surprise that their cover of Ratt’s ‘You’re In Love’ is the track that shows the band’s talents off at their best! Other than that, ‘If I Could’ was probably their best moment of the evening, we also got ‘On Fire’, ‘Can’t Sleep’, ‘You Want It’, ‘Who Are You’ (or as Toni tongue in cheek correctly calls its ‘oo am ya’ for us Black Country folk) and set closer ‘Girl I Can’t Have’.
Skin & Bone features three former members of a band I was a big supporter of prior to their split a few years ago, Tara’s Secret. Johnny (I like pointing) Trowbridge (vocals), Richie Beardsley (guitars) Simon Perkins (drums) are joined by bass man Scott Clarke to round off the line-up of their new musical venture. Having spoken to Johnny about Skin & Bone on a few occasions I knew to expect something different from them – heavier, more aggressive with a more modern rock sound. So my fluffy AOR ass wasn’t sure whether I was going to dig these guys or not, it all depended on just how different they are!
I was genuinely surprised by the Skin & Bone songs, I had thought I would be comparing them to the old TS songs but the style of the band is dramatically different. Yes, there are echoes of TS in a couple of songs mainly due to Johnny’s vocals and Richie’s guitar playing but it really felt like a brand new band in front of me. I wouldn’t say their sound is too modern, but they are definitely more of classic rock band now – think a heavier Chickenfoot.
The sound of the band may be more intense but they still want to have fun and it makes for an enjoyable set!
They opened their set with an impressive trio of tunes that really woke you up and grabbed your attention. Opener ‘Let It Rain’ is a heavy rocker with a powerful chorus and a Dokken style guitar riff which was a good choice for opener. The guys have been tinkering with ‘Revenge Mile’ – the guitar riff was less straight ahead and had more of a low slung groove too it and the chorus seemed more bluesy! ‘Lost Souls’ was a real WOW moment, energetic and exciting with a killer chorus I’m sure this will be many people’s favourites when they get the debut album recorded and released!
The next few songs weren’t as explosive but still great slabs of groove lead heavy classic rock, ‘Better Days’, ‘Walking Shoes’, ‘The Healer’ and ‘Burn The Blue Sky’. The only song I didn’t really get was ‘Fallen From Grace’, it’s a moody ballad piece but it just didn’t hit the spot with me!
The band broke out the big guns for the last three songs, with easily my favourite song of the night ‘She Loves Me’ with a commercial edge and strong melodic overtones. Next was the beautiful, really stunning and different ‘The Exceptional Child’ which Johnny really threw himself into and gave his most passionate and intense performance of the evening. They finished things off with an apt cover of Chickenfoot’s ‘Sexy Little Thing’ which the guys seemed to have a whale of a time playing!
I was really impressed by Skin & Bone’s songs and performance tonight and if I’m honest, a lot more than I was expecting too! I’ll definitely be first in line to see these guys live in future!
Daylight Robbery are probably one of the tightest live bands I’ve ever seen, consistently strong performers, with off nights an extreme rarity. Tonight marks their last show using a keyboard backing track before new keys man David Billingham joins the band later in the year.
Much like Skin & Bone, Daylight Robbery open their set with a bang and finish on a high but have a mid set lull. It’s a very enjoyable set from the guys, who perform like they do this every night with a cool and confident stage presence many larger bands severely lack. Tony’s years of experience with various bands have served him well and it has made him a consistently strong vocalist. This strength makes the band stand out as he really does make other vocalists look, well, a bit shit!
One of the things I love about Daylight Robbery is they create music which has strong melodies and fits into the melodic rock genre with ease but with a much heavier stance than I’m used to without going too heavy and becoming metal, it’s refreshing as it gives something that I enjoy but with a different taste!
When I first saw the band live, in what seems like a lifetime ago now, I remember thinking that from a performance perspective it was very much the Tony Nicholl show but with every show Tony’s band mates have improved their stage presence making it feel less of a one man show.
Bass man Colin Murdoch has a cool and confident swagger and definitely fills the stage, drummer Ben was buried in concentration having to deal with the click track something I’m sure he’s glad to be rid of now! Guitarist Mark Carleton is fast becoming one of my favourite players and his stage presence has improved a lot allowing him to be more animated on stage. They truly are a great live band that I could see time after time and enjoy every single time!
They open with ‘Cross Your Heart’ which has become a constant opener as it lets the audience know what to expect and really shows the band off at their best. Initially I wasn’t a fan of ‘Shame On You’, but at recent shows it has become the song I enjoy the most. Mark Carleton’s riff to this is beyond infectious and I’ve had it stuck in my head for weeks, so couple that with a real rebel yell fist-pumping chorus and your onto a winner. They stay on top of their game with new track ‘Running Out Of Time’ which sees the band edge into more melodic territory but still with a heavy edge – definitely one of my favourites amongst the new songs.
The energy does dip a bit, though still enjoyable and performed flawlessly, but just not as much fire! We get a new one in the form of ‘Fallen Star’ not sure on this one yet, might need to hear it a few times for it to hit. It was followed by ‘Reunite’, ‘Perfect Storm’, ‘Real Love Is The Answer’, and ‘Crossing The Great Divide’.
They take it up a gear to finish the set with an exciting flourish of more commercial edged songs. The increasingly addictive ‘Samarah Never Sleeps’ is sure to be a popular song for them on their upcoming second album. They finish with my favourite song from their debut album ‘While You Were Sleeping’ which sees the band in fine melodic form but never missing that killer heavier edge to drive the song home!
It was great to see Daylight Robbery perform a headline show especially at such a great venue like Lucy’s! It’s also nice that the band were keen to offer a value for money line-up and put in the time to assemble it. They plan to spend the summer song writing and easing the new keyboardist into the band, but I’m like, when’s the next gig, when, where? Cos’ I’m there!
See more of Mark’s pictures here;